They don’t feel good, but fevers are your body’s tool for waging war on bacteria and other germs. These microorganisms are able to thrive only at certain temperatures. When you’re sick with a cold, the flu, or another kind of infection, your body turns up the thermostat. As you get hotter, the germs are no longer able to reproduce – which means you get better faster.
Of course, knowing that a fever is good for you doesn’t make you feel any better. (Root canals are also good for you, and you know how much you look forward to them) But it’s helpful to realize that most fevers don’t last very long, and by the time your temperature starts dropping you’re well on the road to recovery.
For mild fevers, doctors usually recommend letting them run their course, although you may want to take aspirin or acetaminophen, which will lower your temperature a bit and make you feel more comfortable. (Children with fever should never be given aspirin because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a serious neurological disorder.)
Here are a few additional ways to turn the temperature down.
Drink plenty of fluids . Just as your car’s radiator may burn off extra water when it’s running hot, people with fevers also burn more water. To replace the fluids that fevers take out, it’s important to drink at least eight to twelve glasses of water a day. You may want to drink spots drinks like Gatorade, as well. These drinks contain electrolytes – minerals that can help your body work more efficiently. Electrolyte drinks are also available in your local pharmacy.
Take a long soak . Just because you’re hot on the inside doesn’t mean you have to be hot and sweaty on the outside. When you feel a fever coming on, fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and settle in for a long soak. it will help lower your body temperature so you feel a bit more comfortable. Don’t soak in cold water. However. That can cool you off too much and may make you worse.
Spend some time in a bed. A fever means that your body is using up a lot of energy fighting an infection. Getting extra rest will help ensure that your body has enough energy left over to do what’s important – stimulating the immune system to help you recover.